Sri Lanka Tourist Traps

  • Feeding seaweed to the turtles at Hikkaduwa
    Feeding seaweed to the turtles at...
    by SWFC_Fan
  • Feeding seaweed to the turtles at Hikkaduwa
    Feeding seaweed to the turtles at...
    by SWFC_Fan
  • Feeding seaweed to the turtles at Hikkaduwa
    Feeding seaweed to the turtles at...
    by SWFC_Fan

Sri Lanka Tourist Traps

  • Booking a cab or tour.

    We found that the hotel tours and cabs were really expensive, when compared to what you could get in the towns, so when we booked a trip to take us up to some of the attractions by private cab, we did it from the town.Now, this is where the sh`t hit the fan. Our driver came to pick us up from the Dolphin, and when he drove into the front of the...

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  • Smoking

    Since 2006, there is no longer a duty-free allowance for tobacco products for foreign passport holders arriving at Colombo, if you get caught you will be charged Rs.6,000 per carton of 200 cigarettes. Apparently, they don’t mind a few 20 packets for personal use, you can no longer buy them at the airport on the way...

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  • Special Price

    Ok, we are relatively rich while some Sri Lankan people remain poor so maybe I shouldn’t begrudge paying hugely inflated prices to enter tourist sites but I can’t help it, it irks me, we call it racism in my country and I wish they would find a more subtle way to overcharge me.This picture was taken at the Blowhole and unless it's the season don't...

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  • Stilt Fishermen

    I hate to be dismissive about an important 'feature' but while the guy sits out on his stilt dangling his line in the water his colleagues wait on shore to collect money from the tourists who stop to take pictures. Whether these guys ever catch any fish is debatable, I’m assured by my Sri Lankan friends that its tourist they are really after and...

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  • Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

    For some people, describing Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage as a tourist trap is a heresy and lots of travellers rave about what is one of the Sri Lanka’s major tourist attractions, so maybe its just me. I do not mind paying a massive tourist premium to get in or being charged extra to take my camera, I just did not like the place.I was told that...

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  • Touts and Scams

    In tourist areas touts, aka 'beach boys' are a fact of life and they can be very annoying indeed, I have met people who have hardly left their hotel because of them. They are not usually dangerous but are often highly skilled in the art of separating tourists from their holiday cash and some will go to great lengths do it with all manner of cunning...

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  • "beach boys"

    beware of the "beach boys" , these guys try to bring you in tourist stores where they get a provision if you are going to buy the overpriced stuff there ! The locals are normally a little bit reserved so you will recognize these 'beach boys' very soon due to their pushiness.You meet them anywhere in Sri Lanka !

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  • sri lanka tours

    Hi You can do day excursion to kandy and possible to see mentioned place .it will take about 3-4 hrs drive to kandy .to see the bottled feeding at pinnawala elephant orphanage you must be there at 0915 morning session and 1315 at second session. If you need some contact detail of driver/guide in sri lanka I would like to recommend d.karnal de silva...

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  • Scams

    Although 99% of Sri Lankan people are honest and trustworthy, like everywhere else in the world there are some who are after the main chance. You may be approached by someone who says they recognise you from the hotel your are staying in( they will have done their homework!!) while you are on the beach or just browsing about the shopping areas....

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  • Spice Garden No 25

    We were taken here by our driver and it was a nice tour and massage at the end and although we are usually very aware of being fleeced on this occasion got fleeced big time.The potions and lotions were had vastly inflated prices on them and when told my selection would come to 119.00 i knocked them down to 80 - silly me i got my calculations wrong...

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  • Safari ??

    If you want a real safari ..go to Tanzania, Kenya ..and not to Sri Lanka...))...you will see only elefants and monkees )).. despite they mention tons of other animals like leopard, buffalo's...

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  • Tip on Tips

    We were made to feel uncomfortable by the agrresiveness with which some people sought tips from us for thier services. The avergare wage over there is something like $35 a month but but they will routinely demand tips in the region of 800 rupee (approx $8 for the most menial of tasks. Whilst this may not seem a lot of money we were warned on...

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  • Kanneliya-Dediyagala-Nakiyadeniya Forest...

    The KDN complex is situated in the southern part of Sri Lanka which is about 147 kilometers away from Colombo. The total forest spread over 10139.3 hectares. The forest complex occupies the interfluves between two rivers the GinGanga and the Nilwala Ganga consists of series of ridges and valleys and the elevation ranges from 60-425M above mean sea...

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  • Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage – Sri Lanka

    Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is situated in the Sabaragamuwa province of Sri Lanka which is about 87 Kilometers away from Colombo. To reach Pinnawala you have to turn from the 82nd kilometer post of the Colombo – Kandy main road and come through Rambukkana road. If you travel by train the nearest railway station to reach Pinnawala is Rambukkana (2...

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  • Warana Historical Temple

    Warana is an ancient temple situated in a village called "Warana" in the province of western sri lanka.This has a history which runs over of few decades. It is a fine display of ancient architecture of temples in the era of king Walagamba.This place is rich of beautuful paintings inside the cave temple,Statues of lord buddha etc. To reach the...

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  • Beach Seating Charges

    You will see tables and chairs with parasols set out on most tourist beaches, maybe close to a bar. Be aware that if you sit down there is a charge for doing so. Even if you do not order anything from the bar, and even if there is no bar there, someone will pop-up before you move on and charge you a seating price. This is especially common on all...

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  • Local Price And Tourist Price

    At most of Sri Lanka's attractions there will be a local price and a tourist price - a scheme that seems to be official and possibly a government initiative (?). Both rates should be advertised before you go in, but in some cases they advertise the local price and you don't see the tourist price. Check these out before you go in anywhere - it is...

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  • Don't Visit Turtle Hatcheries!

    There are several sea turtle hatcheries along Sri Lanka's coast from Induruwa to Yala, all of which claim to be aiding in turtle conservation by buying eggs from poachers and releasing the hatchlings into the sea two or three days after they hatch. All of these places are illegal and are either ignorant of turtle biology or are deliberately...

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  • Rawana Ella Cave

    For those considering a visit to this cave near Ella, be warned that the 1km climb up from the rock temple is difficult and in my opinion is most definitely NOT worth it. The steep path is extremely overgrown with sharp, tall grass (often taller than me), and once you reach the top covered in scratches there is really not much to see. Prehistoric...

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  • Aluvihare Monastery

    I'm sorry to say I was not very impressed with the rock temple at this monastery. Perhaps my reaction would have been different had I not been to the outstanding Dambulla caves just the day before. The caves of Aluvihare certainly pale in comparison, and the views from the top were not as good as those at Yapahuwa, Mihintale, or Sigiriya. The only...

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  • Exchange rates rip off

    Some hotels use different exchange rates for working out your bill. I was quoted USD86 for bed and breakfast. This rate was converted at SLR101 = USD1 to make up the bill and then divided by SLR 95 to conver the bill into dollars for entering on my credit card. The difference niggled. Some hotels quote the exchange rate that they will use for...

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  • Exchange Rates

    I have seen many comments about the exchange houses in the airport. I entered Sri Lanka in September 2005. There were many banks after the luggage check. The rates for GBP were the same at each bank, about 181 SLR = 1 GBP. Also the difference between buying and selling was less than 1.5% and no commission, so the rate seemed OK to me. Later, I...

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  • Charming way of making money ?????

    Snake charmers and monkey keepers are not unusuall on Sri Lanka. Its great fun! But dont forget the charmer/keeper wants money. They are making their living this way! How much? Depends on the keeper and you. AND dont forget the animals dont allways live under the best conditions. In Pinnawela a man had a snake and my mom had it around her neck....

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  • Not really a lot in Sr Lanka

    My personal opinion is that there are not many tourist traps in Sri Lanka, in comparsion with its neighbouring countries. Sri Lankans are generally genuine and quite friendly without much of the second thought of trapping the tourists. (This is simply based on my personal experience and I can't speak for all).Of course there are touts around in...

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  • Only USD at duty free shops

    I was planning to spend my remaining rupees at the transit area shops before departure. To my surprise, the shop selling liquors, foodstuffs only accepts USD.Also, the Odel outlet there only accepts rupees for items costing 1000 rupees or less.What a strange practice!!!Needless to say, I stll have a small wad of rupees sitting somewhere ...

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  • Avoid the spice gardens

    Please avoid the spice gardens. This is a big tourist trap. There are very few places in Sri Lanka that have no admission price that aren't tourist traps. You walk around with your guide. Looking at tamarind, nutmeg, and coconut trees. He explains the virtues of each spice in Sri Lankan culture -mostly for ayurvedic purposes. They give you some hot...

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  • Weda-medura Ayurvedic centre in Kandy

    Don't go try this place if you're looking for an Ayurvedic treatment...it's horrible. The whole treatment is badly done, the oil is old and the centre is filthy. Pay a bit more and try those at *****hotels.

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  • Kandy: traditional dances

    Walk around the lake at around 5 pm - look out for where over 15 tour buses are parked - and you'll have found the location for the very "unique" kandyan dances. You'll be one of the chosen few (hundreds) to see them Go if it's part of the package - this is my suggestion. If you have to pay extra for it, ask yourself if those dances are really...

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  • Hassle

    When walking along the beach, town or village you will get stopped by the beach boys and locals. The locals are nice and friendly but beware if they ask if it's your first time in Sri Lanka . If it is don't tell them as they will try and sell you goods and trips at over the going rate.Locals will follow you and if you go into a shop they will...

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  • ~~~ service tax ~~~

    Most hotels and restaurants demand a 10 % service charge. *** ____DON'T PAY IT___ for it is a fictional tax !!! *** ... declare you know that is doesn't have to be demanded nor paid for it is not legal! There is nothing they can do about your refuse. If they announce to call the Police (avery very rare case) then the Police can't do anything, too...

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  • The Temple Of The Tooth

    Basically this is the temple which houses the tooth which was discovered after the cremation of Buddha.The king built a special shrine and enshrined the tooth relic.Very interesting stuff, and also very important in the culture and tourism in Sri Lanka, however we were greatly disappointed to find that when we got there it was the wrong time of day...

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  • NOT SNAKE CHARMING

    In Pinnawela near the elephant orphanage was a snake charmer, noticing my sons interest he placed the snake round his neck and invited us to take a photographwhen we had done so he told us the charge was 1000 rupees, but as he had not made any mention of a charge we refused to pay himwe were going to give him something before he demanded money, but...

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  • Herb Plantages

    Don't buy in a herb plantage! We did it and found out later, that these products are such a lot cheaper when you go and buy them in one of the specialised shops! To visit a herb plantage and been shown round and explained all the different herbs and "what they are good for" is definitely interesting and their "free-of-charge" massage really...

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  • The Rate at the Airport is Rather...

    When you arrive at the airport at Colombo you'll have to change money there. The rate is understandably bad.Just change a small amount, and then change more in town. Or do what I do, if you pass through Singapore on your way to Sri Lanka change asmall wad there, they have Sri Lankan Rupees in abundance and they offer at times a better rate than the...

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  • Changing Sri Lankan Rupees back to Other...

    On thing that got me when leaving Sri Lanka was the old money Changing Ordeal.When in Sri Lanka keep all your ATM receipts, changing receipts etc, because you won't be able to change your Srilankan Rupees back into other countries if you don't have them. (:o( I didn't!)Also change money at the bank, because the official money changers at the...

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  • "I am poor, my wife has had a baby!"

    A friendly chap walks up to you he chats politely for a while, then he tells you his wife has had a baby, he is very worried, his wife cannot breast feed, powdered milk costs two months wages can you help him please!Sri Lankan men must be very fertile! I heard this story six times in one day. I'm not saying don't give, just be aware. Sri lankan...

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  • Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

    Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. This children's home for abandoned elephants is located in the tropical highlands. The motherless elephant babies may look cute when they are bathing, but the whole surroundings are tastelessly touristic with the usual touts. Much overrated, stay in Kandy instead. Watch the bathing. Explore the Kandy region.

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  • Touts

    As soon as you get off the train people approach you for being your guide, they are very persistant but as Galle is a small place, you don't really need them..

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  • Nowhere Is Perfect

    Some practices should not be encouraged - so what the hell was I doing taking this photo? Please don't make the same mistake.

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  • NO,you don't want to go to the moonstone...

    Many tuk tuk and taxi drivers will want to take you to the Moonstone Mines. You go there, you look at a hole in the ground, and are then subjected to a session of the most deceitful and underhand sales techniques in the world where they try to get you to buy gems. If you don't buy they are offended ! The introducers get a hefty commission. If...

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  • Don't give money to the children

    In some places (not many places actually) you will meet children begging for money. For the sake of these children: don't give them money. They have the right to free education until they are 16. If tourists give them money, they won't go to school anymore. Sri Lanka is a poor country and needs skilled labourers. So, for the future of this country...

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  • Monkey Business

    When on the beach you see people with animals including monkeys and snakes it is tempting to take a photo but be warned that they expect money for the picture usually anything from 50Rs to 100Rs. Be warned that the monkey looks cute and timid but if they bite they can carry Rabies and other diseases.

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  • Pythons on the beach?

    You will see a person with a python or a cobra on the beach and he will try and put the python on your shoulder it all seems fun but they will try and charge you if you take a picture and even if you don't, and be warned the snake seems docile but they do have very sharp teeth.

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  • 2 prices

    When you go to touristy sights etc , there are usually 2 prices, one for the Sri Lankans, and anothe rfor the tourists. Sometimes there is a third price for Indian Nationals. Beware because this can drive the costs of excursions up. i.e To get into Sigirya you have to pay $10 (US) each, just to walk around, which is extortionate if you're...

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  • There are some taxis that have...

    There are some taxis that have a fare meter, but most cabs and tuktuks (rickshaws) haggle with you. Agree on a price before you get going, otherwise you won't have as much leverage when you get there. The trap is that they will know you are a tourist and try and charge you far more than they would the locals who know the areas and the language.

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Comments (2)

  • Jul 10, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    BEWARE AT YALA
    I travelled here and miraculously a hostel owner and guide met me at the bus stop. The bus driver obviously called him to tell him there was a foreigner on the bus. He then took me to his hostel which I didn't like so I went to another up the road. I asked this second hostel about a tour to yala park. The first hostel guy then walks over and they talk in Sinhalese. I tell them I DO NOT want to pay commissions but want to book direct with the second hotel. They say 'sure, sure'. The price of the tour was 7000 rupees for a half day tour. The others on my jeep paid 5000 rupees, although I think they got a good deal. So basically I think the bus driver, first hostel guy and second hostel guy all took commission even though I told them not to. It's hard to avoid sometimes as the alternative would have been to not get a tour off any of them and spend a day getting around in a tuk tuk and seeing what else I could find. But if you can book direct with the tour company and not the hotel and you will get the best price.

  • Jul 10, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    Spice Gardens
    Basically AVOID these places. Go and take a look if you want but certainly don't buy anything. I purchased a small bottle of perfume (supposedly natural) at one for 1000 rupees. A local afterwards told me that it was not natural and not made in Sri Lanka but imported from India and should cost 200 rupees. He then took me to a local market and showed me all the products supposedly natural and made at the spice gardens that are basically just repackaged from the local markets then sold at HUGELY inflated prices. For example ayurvedic honey was 1900 rupees at the spice garden. It was 300 rupees at a real local Ayurveda store. The miracle natural hair removal cream the spice gardens sell was 3000 rupees per bottle and just 1300 rupees at the local market. I doubt it's even natural. So be warned and DO NOT BUY at the spice gardens around Sri Lanka. It's a scam!

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